A note from Kelly King: I was recently studying the story of Hannah in 1 Samuel 1. In the midst of her crying out to the Lord for a son, she responded in a hymn of praise. I couldn’t help but think about that passage when I read today’s article by Kaye Hurta. Can we respond in praise even in the midst of our hurts? Check out Kaye’s practical suggestions and apply them to your life today.
As a young girl, I was required by my parents to learn how to play the piano. I’m not sure what their reasoning was, but I am grateful. Why? Because the story of God’s love for me landed on my soul first through song. I learned to play the piano by practicing in our church hymnal. I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, but I did grow up going to church and that hymnal, those hymns, became very dear to my heart. The best I knew how, I would pour my heart out to God through the words and melodies of those hymns. Through those songs, I gave Him my questions and most importantly, my pain. I learned early on that praise was a healing and appropriate response to pain. What I didn’t know at the time, is that through that process, God was training me for a ministry to hurting women.
Read Job 1:20-21 (Job had just learned that his children were killed): “At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised” (NIV). Did you catch that? In response to his pain, Job fell to the ground in worship. Pastor and author Mark Batterson, in his book Soulprint: Discovering Your Divine Destiny, says this, “Sometimes our hardest praise is our highest praise.”
Singer, songwriter Larnelle Harris wrote a song years ago that marked me forever. The chorus goes like this: “When praise demands a sacrifice, I’ll worship even then, surrendering the dearest things in life. And if devotion costs me all, He’ll find me faithful to His call, when praise demands a sacrifice.” I have cried my way through that song more times than I can count. Have you ever had to offer praise as a sacrifice? Have you ever been in such grief, loss, or pain that offering praise felt like it cost you everything you had? I have.
Recently, I wrote about the value of lament in the grief process. May I now add to that the value of praise? A word of caution: if someone’s loss or pain is fresh, suggesting she simply “praise the Lord” would be harmful. Please don’t say that. However, you may be ministering to someone who needs be to challenged to offer praise as part of the healing of her pain. It will require prayer and discernment to know how and when to recommend praise through pain. For the woman who is spiritually mature but stuck in her pain, praise might be just the remedy.
If you would like to try it yourself, here’s what I would suggest:
- Make a playlist of two or three songs that minister to you or that you have “avoided” because they are hard to hear.
- Carve out some time and space when you can be alone.
- Talk to the Lord about your pain and why these songs are an offering of hard praise. Ask the Spirit to minister to you through the process.
- Play the songs twice through. The first time, pray through them—pray the lyrics back to the Lord, using the songs as the soundtrack to your prayer. Be honest; be vulnerable.
- Play the songs a second time and sing them to the Lord as an offering of praise.
Someone will read this today and immediately make that playlist and walk through these steps. I am sorry for your pain, and if that is you, I am praying for you. I am praying that your hardest praise will indeed be your highest praise. Read this out loud: “(Say your name here), fell to the ground in worship.”
Kaye Hurta has a Masters Degree in counseling from Liberty University and is a crisis counselor for Women’s Events through LifeWay Christian Resources. Whether speaking, singing, or listening, Kaye’s passion is to help others find intimacy with Christ and soul transformation through the living pages of His Word. Kaye met and married her husband Chris in Austin, Texas in 1987. They have two daughters through the miracle of adoption, Madison and Cami. They live in the Chicago burbs where they are both on staff at Willow Creek Community Church. Kaye is also a contributing author for the LifeWay resource, Women Reaching Women in Crisis.